Pixar might just be the most amazing studio to ever work in the history of film studios. Their propensity for creating unforgettable experiences that appeal to all ages is second to none. It’s quite honestly something akin to the supernatural. I know that there is no such thing as actual magic outside of science, but the wizards at Pixar are about as close to magicians as it gets.
‘Coco’ is the personification of that magic in visual splendor and glorious heart. It’s also pretty funny at times. This is because director Lee Unkrich and the magical team of artists at Pixar have crafted a tale that is filled with a deep sense of Mexican culture and the bonds of family that cross all cultures. To say that this movie is the best animated film of the year may sound like light praise in a year of such poor animated movies, but this movie is also just one of the best films of any kind to come out in 2017.
The story revolves around a young boy named Miguel and his love for music. His family has banned music from their lives because their great grandfather walked out on their great grandmother to pursue a life as a musician. This lead to the creation of a shoe shop that has spanned generations and a family separation from all music. When Miguel decides he is going to perform at a talent show before the Day of the Dread celebration his grandmother destroys his guitar and tries to teach him a lesson about the importance of family. Miguel is having none of it and runs away to live his dream.
When Miguel tries to steal a guitar from the grave of a great artist he is whisked away to the land of the dead. It is in that glorious land of wonder that Miguel goes on an adventure to help him discover the importance of family and help his family discover the joy of music ones more. Which is a message that couldn’t be more important during the Thanksgiving holiday, but for me it was even more than that. Now, I don’t want to ruin any plot points. So, I will just say that the connection between a father and his daughter is played to unbelievably emotional effect in this movie and the lose of my musician father made it all the more resonant for me.
‘Coco’ is a beautiful and emotional piece of art and we should be honored that we get the opportunity to experience it. It plays wonderful tribute to Mexican culture and Catholic beliefs in an afterlife. Yet, it also pays tribute to the importance of remembrance in a way that even the non-religious can find beauty in its depiction of the dead. This is deep stuff, but it’s carried along with laughs and fun. Pixar, my sombrero is off to you. Muchas gracias!